During these uncertain economic times, experts say it’s more important than ever before to connect West Virginia community leaders to state and national resources. Educators at West Virginia University hope to do just that during the Community Leadership Academy, Oct. 3-5, in Morgantown.

The WVU Community Resource Leadership Academy, in its first year, will bring together experts to help community officials, volunteers and business leaders learn how to manage successful community development in today’s economy.

Whether it’s the Marcellus shale boom or some other economic windfall, community leaders must be ready to make the most of these opportunities when they come along. This means knowing what their individual communities need, and having plans in place to use the new assets effectively.

“In this day of technology and worldwide connection, people are still looking to their local community leaders for new ideas and ideas that work and make sense for the people of West Virginia,” Kelly Nix, WVU Extension Service community resource specialist, said.

The CRLA’s purpose is to help emerging and established leaders identify and build on their communities’ assets. The goal is to take advantage of the current development issues and opportunities facing specific areas.

“It’s rare in any town and in any state to see an industry boom right now,” Nix explained. “But West Virginia and surrounding regions are seeing people moving into their communities – however temporary or permanent those moves may be – and community officials are left scrambling to figure out how to best make use of this asset.”

Nix said the conference can help begin the discussion and get the creative juices flowing for community leaders. The event provides networking opportunities, as well as nationally renowned speakers, like Luther Snow. Snow is the creator of Asset Mapping, an in-person method for facilitating creative community collaboration with more than 2.5 million participants across the U.S. and Canada.

The conference is geared toward all community leaders, including elected officials, planners, local business owners and Main Street program participants.
The deadline to register is Monday, Sept. 24. The costs range from discounted rates of $100, to rates of $150. Scholarships may be available for those who qualify. Registration is online at www.crla.ext.wvu.edu/registration, or by calling 304-293-4201.



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CONTACT: Cassie Waugh, WVU Extension Service
Office: 304-293-8735; Cell: 304-376-1829